What do you get when you cross a nerd comedian with a nerd-averse Mother who is funny as f*ck? You get Deb Margolin’s JUST GIVE ME ONE-HALF HOUR WITH MY MOTHER, a comedy of mourning and retrospection, with a deep bow to the power of jokes to connect a body in the diaspora to the mother country, or to the Mother herself! In addition to the lamentation and yearning, there are jokes told one after the other! These are ACTUAL JOKES! No one tells straight-up jokes anymore
Technical Director and Technical Designer: Chayton PabichBackstage
Crew and Advisors: Ginny Mayer & Mark Gaudet
Deb Margolin is a playwright, actor, and founding member of Split Britches Theater Company. She is the author of numerous plays, including Imagining Madoff, Turquoise, and Bringing the Fishermen Home, as well as 10 solo performance, plays which she has toured throughout the US, the most recent of which is 8 STOPS, a comedy concerning the grief of endless compassion! 8 STOPS takes a long, humorous, tender look at motherhood, the suburbs, the fear of death, and the inheritability of ideas. Deb was honored with an OBIE award for Sustained Excellence of Performance, the Kesselring Playwright Prize for her play Three Seconds in the Key, the 2008 Helen Merrill Distinguished Playwright Award and the Richard H. Broadhead Prize for teaching excellence at Yale University, where she is Associate Professor (adj.) in the undergraduate Theater Studies Program. Commissions include the NY Public Theater, Actors Theater of Louisville, PS122, The Jewish Museum of New York, and Dixon Place.
In these very trying times, I wanted to reach back to a performance that startled me when I originally documented it. The performance by Emily Davis on May 2nd. 2015 Avant-Garde-Arama had that impact on me. Performed at the Abrons Arts Center on behalf of the amazing Bushwick Starr performance space. Seeing this piece now in these difficult times makes us realize how valuable the AGA was for so many years. This show was ‘chock-full’ of wonderful performers. (John Fleck, Uzi Parnes and Ela Troyano, Half Straddle, Martha Wilson, Travis Chamberlain (for Jennifer Monsoon) Holly Hughes, Jack Ferver, Yin Yue Dance and the Institute for Psychogeographic Adventure.) Watch and listen to this ‘Half-Straddle’ piece performed by Emily Davis.
Half Straddle is an Obie-winning, New York City-based ensemble of performers and designers that make plays, performances, videos, and music led by writer and director Tina Satter that have been seen through the United States and internationally.
Half Straddle has premiered 10 full-length shows, and a number of shorter works and video projects that have been seen at festivals and theaters throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, and Asia.
In October 2019, the critically acclaimed Is This Room, a show conceived of and directed by Tina Satter and starring Becca Blackwell, Emily Davis, Pete Simpson, and TL Thompson, with costumes by Enver Chakartash, was the company’s Off-Broadway debut at the Vineyard Theatre. The show had premiered at The Kitchen in January 2019. In 2014, Half Straddle’s show House of Dance was nominated for a ZKB Patronage Prize at Zürcher Theater Spektakel.
The company began in 2008 and received their Obie Award grant in 2013.
All of Half Straddle’s company members and collaborators work extensively in a range of other performance contexts, often creating their own work, in avant-garde theater to Broadway, to university teaching and as theater artists in NYC public schools.
In New York City, the company’s work has been presented at the Vineyard Theatre, The Kitchen, New York Live Arts, New Museum, Danspace, Performance Space New York (formerly PS122), Bushwick Starr, HERE Arts Center, Dixon Place, American Realness at Abrons Arts Center, COIL Festival, Ice Factory Festival, and PRELUDE Festival.
The Bushwick Starr began in 2001 as a developmental space for the New York based theater company, Fovea Floods, Inc. In 2004, the company helped to fully convert the space to a black-box venue while producing a large-scale theatrical run. In the subsequent years, as the neighborhood of Bushwick began to transform into a thriving artistic nexus desirous of space and support, we decided to open our doors to other artists. Since doing so, we have quickly grown into a bustling theatrical venue, enjoyed by artists and audiences near and far.
We believe in the power of art to communicate in surprising ways. The work we present is bold, new, and daring, often melding disciplines, and always full of ideas. The Starr supports artists with 360 degree love by offering an attentive, nurturing, and supportive environment for our artists, helping them develop their best work under ideal circumstances. We provide a space that houses and ignites the conversation around intersecting communities and creates a cultural bridge through ongoing community programs and events.
Avant-Garde-Arama is Performance Space 122’s longest-running series. A multi-disciplinary mini-festival featuring break out performances in dance, music, theatre, performance art, video/film, and more presented in eight minutes or less. While PS122’s East Village home is being renovated, Avant-Garde-Arama and other programming will take place at multiple venues around the city.
Featuring a lone human performer against a tide of geometric performing objects and a chorus of indifferent puppeteers, Erdos submerges the audience in a series of meditations about our dependence on technology, the allure of blind faith, and the question of whether participation is even a choice.
The show featured Kate Brehm, Rachael Shane, Alex Young, Maiko Kikuchi, Sarah Plotkin, and Kate Reilly. Directed by Amanda Friou. Music by Nehemiah Luckett. Costume design by Sarah McMillan. Set and puppet design by Kate Brehm
Beginning with this post I will be making weekly ‘flashbacks’ To “5 Years Ago Today“. Mixed in with current interviews with performers and photographs from shows either happening ‘online’ or previously posted! Enjoy!
So. for starters we are now in ‘Lockdown’ in New York City. The next Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show will be broadcast to you on the internet. I will try and take some screenshots for those folks who won’t be able to watch. Here is last month’s show in pictures!
Bindlestiff’s co-founder and host for the show Keith Nelson takes the first slot in the show for his ‘Chinese yoyo’ routine.
Maks and Chelsea perform their hysterical antics.
In the spirit of vaudeville Keith takes his time winding the string on his top.
Keith gives an example of how ‘folks’ use to have longer attention spans and looks at the top.
Mariko Iwasa invites an audience member to be part of her performance ‘tea’ ceremony.
The volunteer clad in a Japanese kimono and waiting to sample the tea that Mariko is pouring.
Delaney Bayes performed a beautifully lyrical juggling routine with grace and finesse.
Keith threw a potato into the air and caught on a fork. Nice move!
Ellia Klein was amazing in her contortion act.
Mark Gindick came on stage with a ‘singer’ persona but it changed when Michael Bongar intruded.
And then he recruited an audience member that was blown away by Michael Bongar leaf blower!
Molly Siksin performed on the trapeze with skill and abandonment.
Cassandra Nemser was very vocal (she sang Opera) while escaping from her straightjacket.
Miss 360 performed a deLIGHTful hula hoop routine.
Cleo Carol Knopf sang an original song about her ‘hero’ Bernie Sanders!
Jean-Taé S. Francis performed a charming ‘rola-bola’ act.
Surprising the audience with his Spider-Man costume was aerialist Shawn E. Shawn.
~On April 6th, 2020 The Bindlestiff Open Stage Show will be Broadcast on the internet~
I hope you enjoy this new VERSION of the show! Stay tuned for more information.
Every first Monday of the month the folks at Bindlestiff Family Cirkus put together a variety show with everyone invited. New performers and seasoned ones can all try out their acts on the lovely Dixon Place stage. This month was short and sweet! Only 9 acts!
Hosted by Keith Nelson of the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus organization. A great performer with numerous skills from many performing arts disciplines. Here he is opening the show with his ‘Chinese yoyo’ act.
Host Keith attempted to catch an imaginary bottle of water on an imaginary umbrella.
The charming and very talented mentalist Robin Channing startled the audience with his amazing skills. I thought of a word and told him my birthday and he had them written down on a post-it during his drive to the theater earlier that night!
After intermission, the show began with some political song from aerialist/singer/choreographer Cleo Carol Knopf.
The next act was Jacob D’Eustachio who recently returned from his working with UK based Giffords Circus. I photographed Jacob in 2009 performing at the Bindlestiff show and now he is back in NY for more juggling/comedy mischief.
Jacob started by juggling some machetes and then handed out lemons to quite a few audience members and ask that they throw them at him. He did cut a few in half with the machetes.
Recently relocated to NY, Rich Potter is a clown with lots of performing history up north. He is trying out material in NY. Tonight he performed a ‘surreal’ piece of comedic physical clown.
The last act of the evening was aerialist Nina Gershy musically accompanied by Book Kennison and Logan Kerr.
Every first Monday of the Month at Dixon Place! Lots of great acts and always surprises.
The people that make this show possible are sometimes not known or seen.
One of them is Marcia Curran – Stage manager for the Bindlestiff Open Stage (and many other shows)
Here she is with Yoyo master Justin Weber before the show.
Also, one of the vital people that makes Dixon Place work is Mike!
Mike Griffiths is one of the people that makes Dixon Place tick like a well-oiled clock. His official title is “Marketing & Audience Development Associate”. You know he works hard at that! Along with Production manager Rob Lariviere who makes all the shows look and sound great!
Inspired by folk tales and the natural world, fools in plein air: fermented rain employs puppets, objects, projections, movement, and six performers to dissolve the boundaries between mind/body and sleep/wakefulness. In this commission, Swiss writer Robert Walser walks through the dreamscapes of artist Marc Chagall, revealing human interconnectedness, the porousness of boundaries and the illusion of human dominance.
About the Artist
Patti Bradshaw is a director, puppet artist and choreographer. Her work has been seen in NYC, Greece, Portugal and Japan. In recent years, she has devised movement/puppetry theater works inspired by the painter and poet Florine Stettheimer: Flowers in Space and Garden of Florine: Impending Storms; Franz Kafka’s last and unfinished novel, K and the Way and the inner life of poet Fernando Pessoa: Disquietude and Next to the Last Poem, in addition to other original performance projects and collaborations. Recent works have been presented at Dixon Place, 92nd St Y, Roulette Intermedium, St. Ann’s Warehouse, FiveMyles Gallery, Brooklyn Studios for Dance, and Triskelion Arts. She was a multi-year member of St. Ann’s Puppet Lab and has received support from the Jim Henson Foundation, and artist residencies at BkSD and from Barbara Bray Ketchum at Sarah Lawrence College.